Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Spineless National backs down: Compromise


A compromise has been reached which will see the anti-smacking bill amended to ensure parents are not prosecuted for minor incidents.

The agreement between Helen Clark and John Key means the bill is now almost certain to be passed in two weeks' time.

At an extraordinary press conference this morning, the Prime Minister set out how the deal was reached and said there was now cross-party support.

The compromise sees wording inserted into the bill guiding the police not to prosecute all parents who smack their children.

What the new amendment says:
To avoid doubt it is affirmed that police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against a parent of a child, or person in the place of a parent of a child, in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution.

Miss Clark said the change has the support of both the bill's sponsor Sue Bradford and Mr Key.

She said: "Sue Bradford has always been clear, as I have been, as John Key has been, that there is no desire to see decent, good parents marched into court for something that is inconsequential."

Miss Clark said she began looking for a resolution to the impasse last week and worked with Parliament's legal experts looking at police prosecution guidelines.

On Sunday she went to Ms Bradford, who said she was willing to look at it. She then went to Mr Key at question time yesterday and met with him last night before reaching agreement on the final wording.

Both Labour and National will support the amendment and the final reading of the bill - now expected on May 16. This will assure Ms Bradford of an overwhelming majority.

Mr Key said the change achieved National's three key aims.

They were to give comfort to parents they would not be prosecuted for lightly smacking their kids; to give police clear guidance they should not pursue "inconsequential" matters and at the same time send a strong anti-violence message to New Zealanders.

At present, the bill would make it unlawful to use any form of physical discipline on a child for the purposes of correction.

The compromise is being introduced by United Future leader Peter Dunne.

To date Labour supported the bill and all but one of National's MPs have opposed it...


RUBBISH.  Within a few years they'll ammend the bill again.  CYFS will use this new bill to it's utmost extent to be able to tear children away from their loving families, simply due to a smack which they believe was just a little bit too hard.


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